Bandhavgarh National Park is not just a treasure trove of flora and fauna, but also of culture and history. You shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore this magnificent natural (and national) treasure, says Pearl Mathias
Bandhavgarh is a historically significant place that is associated with the legends of the Ramayana. The word Bandhavgarh is a combination of two words, ‘Bandhav’ meaning brother and ‘Garh’ meaning fort. This reserve was named for the presence of an ancient fort in the hillock of the Vindhya ranges of Umaria, and it’s believed that Lord Rama gifted this splendid fort to his younger brother Lakshmana. So, if you’re venturing into the national park, make sure you visit the fort to take in its cultural settings. When the Baghels ruled Bandhavgarh, they abandoned the land, which was eventually deserted and turned into a haven for beasts. Soon, Bandhavgarh was declared a game reserve where only the royal families were allowed on hunting expeditions.
This beautiful forest is home to a large population of tigers, and today, Bandhavgarh is a tiger reserve. When poaching in the park increased, the tiger population began to decrease and this was a cry to improve the conditions of the animals. In lieu of this, small dams were constructed (to solve the water crisis) where the animals could shelter and relieve themselves from the sweltering heat. After it was declared a tiger reserve in 1993 under the project Tiger Network at the neighboring Panpatha Sanctuary, Bandhavgarh National Park came to be the exploratory region that it is today. To help you explore the region and peek into the natural habitats of flora and fauna, the BNHS has arranged a trip to the reserve during the summer. Read on to find out more about it and see why you shouldn’t miss out.
We spoke to a few people who’ve been to Bandhavgarh to share their experience with us. Here’s what they had to say.
Joseph Drego tells us that Bandhavgarh was his first trip with BNHS in 2011, and he enjoyed it so much that he followed it up with ten more trips with the organisation! “It would be hard to single out any favourites from the trip, but sighting the tiger on the last day was the highlight. I would definitely recommend this trip for anyone who is interested in wildlife or bird-watching, because there’s so much to learn when you’re exposed to the great outdoors,” he says.
Nature lover Diana Singh Roy tells us that her trip to Bandhavgarh National Park was an unforgettable one. “There’s so much to see and much more to learn when you’re in the jungle amidst nature and wildlife,” she says. She also recommends the trip because it made her see the larger picture. “There’s so much happening out in the world. On our trip, we sighted beautiful creatures and we were also made aware of the water situation. This national park is really worth the visit,” she adds.
Assistant account manager of public relations at Communicate India, Charmi Shah says, “The highlight of my trip to Bandhavgarh was one morning at about 4am, when we left our resort to go to the park. The drive took around 30 minutes, and it was pitch dark and absolutely silent as we entered the area ahead of the jungle. As we entered the jungle gates, the light was dim but we could see everything around and automatically we kept mum. A few kilometres further, we saw a herd of elephants crossing our path. Their presence was breathtaking. At the end of our ride, we were taken to a shallow river where it was safe for us to stop and have breakfast outdoors. It was one of the most beautiful meals.” The trip comes highly recommended by her as the jungles are full of life in different forms — from the flowers and plants to tree insects, birds and animals of several species.
Baghel Museum Check out the stuffed body of the first white tiger spotted by the Maharaja of Rewa as well as ancient hunting equipment used by the Maharajas and military equipment.
Mahaman Pond Spot herds of wild creatures at this pond, which is close to the Bandhavgarh Fort. Surrounded by bamboo clumps, this place is called the ‘Place of Quench the Thirst’, as several species of herbivores and carnivores gather around for a drink.
Climber’s Point Filled with sal and bamboo trees, this majestic spot offers an aerial view of the entire park. It’s the ideal spot to rest and unwind after a day in the jungle, and click a few brilliant pictures as well.
KEEP IN MIND
Do not carry any music systems or MP3 players in the forest area.
Do not carry any flammable items and do not light a fire in the forest area.
Do not tease or feed wild animals or destroy the habitat in the park or sanctuary.
No article (rocks, feathers, animals or eggs) should be collected from the protected area.
Do not wear any kind of perfume or deodorant during the trail or safari.
Batch I June 3 to 6, 2017
Batch II June 8 to 11, 2017
Camp charges Rs 26,500 (members) and Rs 28,000 (non-members). This includes accommodation, food, transfers to/ from Katni, safari charges and entry to the park.
Accommodation Twin sharing basis
How to get there Train — Mumbai-Katni: Kamayani Express (11071) arrives in Katni at 10am; Katni-Mumbai: Many trains are available; HWH Mumbai Mail (12321) arrives in Katni at 4.20pm.
Flight The closest airport to Katni is Jabalpur, which is about 64km away
Registration Contact 22821811/ 22871202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note The best time to book your trip is two months in advance.